A High Court Judge has upheld an Employment Tribunal ruling that a company was not liable for its director’s assault of an employee during a company Christmas party.

Sales manager Clive Bellman, 60, told a Court that he was left “brain damaged” after he was allegedly punched in the face twice by his employer, John Major.

A Court heard that the alleged assault – which took place in front of as many as 24 employees – was provoked by a heated argument about a work-related matter.

Mr Bellman, who has worked for Northampton Recruitment since November 2010 and has been friends with Mr Major “since childhood” claims that the incident in 2011 “ruined his life”.

He told a Court that he was left bleeding from his nose, ears and mouth after Mr Major ‘attacked’ him at the bar of Northampton’s Hilton Hotel, following an office party at Collingtree Golf Club.

However, as the incident occurred during “impromptu drinks” at a bar after the initial company party, the High Court ruled that the alleged assault did not occur in the course of employment.

A High Court Judge noted that the office party itself passed by “without incident” and ruled that a line could be drawn between the Christmas party at the golf club and the “impromptu drink” at the hotel afterwards.

A Court heard that there was a temporal and substantive difference between the two, and that the latter was not in any way a direct extension of the former.